The New York Red Bulls must play better as a team if they want to make a serious bid for a first MLS Cup/Major League Soccer title, their French star Thierry Henry said on Tuesday.
In a season in which the Red Bulls were expected to battle for the best record in the league, New York are instead the lowest-seeded team heading into their wild-card play-off match on Wednesday at Dallas. They squeaked into the post-seson with a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia Union in their last regular-season game.
"I've been saying the whole time, it's not about me raising my game," Henry said. "We win when the whole team plays well. You saw in the last game that the team is playing way better. It's not one or two, or three or four guys playing well. It's not about thinking one guy is going to save you now."
Henry in fact missed the deciding game against Philadelphia as he served a one-match suspension after being sent off in the team's penultimate contest at Kansas City.
The 34-year-old, who has scored 14 goals this season, will be back against seventh-seeded FC Dallas for the one-match wild-card contest, from which the winners advance to the play-off quarter-finals and the losers see their campaign end.
"Having him back is definitely a good boost for us, and we're looking to go in firing on all cylinders," said Red Bulls defender Tim Ream.
A victory in Dallas would give the Red Bulls a two-leg quarter-final tie against the top-seeded Los Angeles Galaxy. Coach Hans Backe said he expects Henry to be ready. "We know that a player like Thierry, when he sniffs play-offs he gets more and more mentally into the game," Backe said.